With the San Francisco 49ers season now over, the focus becomes how the team can improve for 2022. Over the coming days and weeks there will be plenty of discussion about the big names who should be signed in free agency and which positions should be targeted in the draft.
The 49ers are currently $ 4.5 million over the 2022 salary cap which is expected to be set at $ 208.2 million according to overthecap.com. Their top 51 contracts must be under the salary cap total by the start of the new league year on March 16. San Francisco currently has only 44 players signed to contracts for next season with 11 of those being signed last week to reserve / future contracts.
A trade of Jimmy Garoppolo is on the horizon which will help get under the cap. Trading Garoppolo would provide San Francisco with about $ 21 million in cap space. The 49ers will also need to budget approximately $ 7.7 million of that space to sign their nine picks in this year’s draft, leaving them with $ 13.3 million to round out their roster.
To fill out and improve the roster, San Francisco will need to free up cap space. One of the ways teams do this is by working with players to restructure their contracts.
Here are five possible targets for contract restructures or extensions this offseason:
Arik Armstead: 2022 Cap Hit – $ 20,000,000
Armstead would seem to be a no brainer for a contract restructure. He has proven to be healthy, playing every game over the last four seasons which provides some basis for believing an extension would make sense.
Armstead’s current contract includes roughly $ 13 million in base salary for 2022 which can be converted towards a signing bonus which could be spread out over the remaining four years of his contract.
The net cap savings for 2022 would be just over $ 10 million.
Jimmie Ward: 2022 Cap Hit – $ 12,935,588
Ward has proven himself to be a difference maker in the middle of the 49ers secondary. Despite issues with injuries early in his career, Ward has missed only six games over the last three seasons.
San Francisco could convert up to $ 7.78 million or Ward’s $ 8.9 million in base pay to signing bonus.
The net cap savings for 2022 would be roughly $ 6.2 million.
Samson Ebukam: 2022 Cap Hit – $ 8,250,000
Ebukam joined the 49ers as a free agent in 2021, signing a two-year $ 12 million contract with a signing bonus of $ 3.5 million and $ 1.5 million in guaranteed salary for 2021.
San Francisco could save $ 6.5 million on the 2022 cap by releasing Ebukam, however his productivity would seem to make that an unlikely outcome.
Moving into the starting lineup after Dee Ford was lost for the season to injury, Ebukam recorded 6.5 sacks and 14 hits over the 49ers final 14 games of 2021, including the postseason.
Emmanuel Moseley: 2022 Cap Hit – $ 6,555,529
Moseley signed a two-year contract in 2021 worth up to $ 9,384 million with $ 4,384 million guaranteed at signing. The 49ers could move on from Moseley this offseason and save roughly $ 4.8 million in cap space.
The primary concern with Moseley has been his ability to stay healthy. He missed four games due to injury in 2020 and six in 2021.
Level of play has never been a concern for Moseley. In 11 regular season games during 2021, Moseley help opponents to only 31 receptions on 55 targets with one interception while not giving up a touchdown.
Mike McGlinchey: 2022 Cap Hit – $ 10,880,000
San Francisco chose to pick up the fifth-year option on McGlinchey last offseason, meaning his $ 10.88 million salary for 2022 is fully guaranteed.
McGlinchey suffered a season ending injury during the 49ers 31-17 loss to Arizona in week 9. Prior to the injury, McGlinchey had been playing some of the best football of his career with the 49ers.
Any extension would require him to first show he is fully recovered and back to playing at his pre-injury level.